The Azle community is stepping up in several ways to support a little boy, viciously attacked by a neighbor’s dog after getting off the school bus last Friday.
Conner Lander’s mother and the neighbor who rescued him shared with NBC 5 more about what happened that day and the community support they’ve received since the attack.
“I seen [sic] a black dog who had ahold of Conner,” said Lorena Parker. “He was shaking him. He was dragging him, tore his jacket off him. He tore his backpack off him."
She said she called 911 and grabbed a stick.
“I hit the dog with the stick. It broke,” Parker said.
But Parker didn’t give up, even when she says the dog lunged at her.
“Thinking back, there was nothing going through my head except to get to Conner,” said Parker.
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Parker was able to carry the injured child to her fenced-in yard, just as his mother heard the screams and ran outside.
“My son's face was covered in blood,” Cassandra Ware said.
Ware said the attack left Conner with nerve damage and more stitches than they can count all over his head and body.
“He got stitches on all of the holes that were in his arms. He also has 11 major cuts across his face,” Ware said.
She said Conner will need multiple surgeries but should regain feeling in his face and recover. He has a long road ahead, but they're all grateful he survived.
Ware is also appreciating countless people from the community and others on social media who are pitching in to help the family. Ware is a single mom of two who works six days a week at the local donut shop. Community members launched a fundraiser to help cover bills and gas for trips to the hospital while she stays home with Conner as he heals and goes through treatments.
Ware also said Conner has been too afraid to go outdoors since the attack since they don’t have a fence.
She put out a call for help and several community partners have stepped up to donate materials and time. Volunteers plan to be in Azle the first week in February to build a fence around the family’s property so that when he’s ready, one day, Conner can go outside to play safely.
“I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for saving my son and saving us and helping us to repair him and fix his life and make him feel safe again," Ware said.
NBC 5 contacted the Parker County Sheriff's Office about the case and to learn more about any possible investigations into the attack. The sheriff’s office said they will release more information soon.
The nonprofit Servolution Network is leading a community effort to build a fence for the family. Organizers said Home Depot is donating supplies and other community partners are contributing resources and volunteers to the project. Servolution Network shared more about their plans here.
The dog attack is the second reported on this week. A 22-year-old UT Dallas student working as a dog sitter remains hospitalized after she was attacked by multiple dogs just before Christmas, a lawsuit alleges. There's more on that story here.